The rifleman mustering for a firing squad is honest - an icon of retribution without pretense. If we can own his violent act on our behalf, capital punishment suits us. But clinical killing is euphemism - a cowardly way for us to deceive ourselves.
According to the Justice Department, Mr. Cheney will be extradited to an undisclosed country with no formal torture policies. "He will be treated to that spa's full menu of enhancements," said Bob Lapdoug, Undersecretary for Legal Hijinks. "But rest assured that the United States of America does not torture."
All the hullaballoo over the United States government's' use of torture as an officially-sanctioned intelligence gathering process was bad enough. It brought back memories of a shameful period in American history. But when Dick Cheney reappeared to defend the practice of torture, it was the worst specter of Christmas past.
So what's left for the country's torture apologists? Continue to claim that the program saved lives and discredit the report for relying too much on the CIA's own emails and cables, rather than interviews. What they likely won't do is admit and defend the version of waterboarding described by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Frum and Corn agree that the Feinstein Committee documents "torture" and should have been released but they clash on justifications for the torture. Ditto on Bush-Cheney legacy since, argues Frum, "Safety is the goal of the state." Also: Why can't Obama get any economic respect?
This week, the Senate released its report on America's use of torture after 9/11. The revelations were appalling: a detainee being chained naked to the floor and dying of exposure, another forced to stand on broken legs, more widespread use of waterboarding than previously known, and forced "rectal hydration" (in other contexts, known as rape). And not only did the CIA mislead Congress, but its claims -- repeated this week -- about the program's effectiveness were also unsupported by the evidence. It was a small step in accounting for one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. But it's not enough to, as the president did, simply say we won't do it again. The larger question is: Why aren't the program's architects being prosecuted? The methods used, the president said, are "inconsistent with our values as a nation." And so is placing some people above the law for political expediency. Thankfully, there is no statute of limitations on torture.
The debate over whether the CIA did or did not mislead the Bush administration is a red herring. The real issue is the persistent recourse to torture that the U.S. has relied on in its modern history.
The Senate intelligence committee hopes to release soon a redacted summary of its 6,300-page report on the CIA's interrogational torture program. As we wait, the committee is wrangling with the CIA over redactions that the CIA is demanding.
It is no surprise that Islamic State has adopted some of the CIA torture methods such as waterboarding. This is the very definition of the spiral of violence, where violence used as revenge begets more and greater violence.
While Sarah Palin may consider herself a patriot, all we need are more Americans publicly espousing waterboarding, and other unacceptable terror methods, to push even more potential enemies into believing that indeed the West is serving, or is itself, the Great Satan.
When Sarah Palin commented, at this last week's national National Rifle Association convention, "...waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists," she did worse than offend, worse than degrade human beings, worse than stir up a group of weapon-advocates. She did so in the Name of God.
To take the most holy and life-giving rite of our faith and compare it to torturing a prisoner is demonic.
Now, we can read a psychiatrist's report which includes, in detail, the torture enacted on just one prisoner of the United States, Shaker Aamer.
As a former British MI6 field operative who worked hand-in-glove with incredibly brave CIA officers, I don't understand why the U.S. Senate Intelligen...
Some of us predicted when Condi Rice left office that she would become intent on revising history. Faustian bargains don't end that quickly!